At Work At School

An Afton Partners Blog

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Getting the Most Bang for the Education Buck

At a recent conference hosted by AEI and the Fordham Institute, experts, including Afton’s Scott Milam, gathered to share their thoughts on how to “Get the Most Bang for the Education Buck”. Through three panel discussions, the experts unpacked topics such as the “why” behind funding and budget challenges, how to stretch the school dollar,… Continued

Finance for Equity & Outcomes: Afton’s Discussion with the Broad Academy Fellows

In September 2019, Afton’s Carrie Stewart and Katie Reed had the opportunity to discuss resource allocation as a lever for equity and driving student outcomes with fellows in the Broad Academy and their finance leads through The Broad Center. This group of highly motivated, accomplished education sector professionals are driving excellence and equity on a daily… Continued

Defining “Principal Autonomy”

School systems we work with here at Afton are increasingly including “autonomy” policies for principals in their strategic plans for academic achievement – meaning giving them more decision making authority. Often, this is in the form of bounded or earned autonomy, wherein principals receive additional decision making authority based on demonstrated readiness. For example, a… Continued

Improving Federal Funds Allocations to LEAs

In 2017, Afton worked with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to improve the agency’s process to allocate Title I Part A funding to its 400+ LEAs, and Afton shared its learning here. Since this initiative, Afton’s team has delved into federal funding allocation processes and identified common challenges in multiple states across over a… Continued

Afton Provides Recommendations for State Education Agencies on ESSA Financial Transparency Requirement

In February 2018, Afton Partners joined Edunomics Lab, the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center, and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) who hosted a one-day conference for over 30 State Education Agencies (SEAs). Afton led a session focused on how state agencies can play a role in fostering the usage of per-pupil financial data at the local level. We reflected on the role of State Education Agencies in fostering effective use of school site-based expenditure reporting. Our conclusion was that SEAs can do a lot to encourage effective use of this data, including training, issuing reporting guidance, clearly defining roles/responsibilities between state/local, and leading dialogue on the value of the reporting. Continued

Afton Completes Title I Review with Arizona Department of Education

Recently, Afton completed its engagement with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) with a plenary speech and breakout sessions at the annual MEGA conference for Title I administrators. The plenary speech provided an overview of the state’s corrected Title I allocation process for LEAs; further details and Q&A were provided in the breakout sessions. Earlier… Continued

The Business of Education: A Lesson in Financial Sustainability for School Systems

Afton Conducts Professional Seminar on Innovation in Education for the University of Virginia’s MBA/MED Program Key takeaways: Finance is only one of several pillars for assessing and sustaining innovation in education. Real-world content, including case studies, lessons learned, and application of financial best practices, is becoming increasingly valuable to help cultivate financial acumen in education… Continued

Afton Partners Named ‘Site Level Facilitator’ for Illinois State Board of Education Fiscal Equity & Return on Investment Initiative

In July 2017, Afton was awarded a two-year contract with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to act as the “Site Level Facilitator” as part of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Fiscal Equity and Return on Investment (ROI) project.   Afton is working with ISBE and a designated Advisory Group to enable school… Continued

Affording Quality Schools – Remedy 8: Make a Commitment to Long-Term Planning and Stop Flying Blind

This is the final installment of Afton’s five-part blog series, “How Districts Can Afford High Quality Schools, Despite Enrollment Decline,” aimed at recognizing school district financial challenges associated with enrollment decline and offering some actionable recommendations for school districts facing enrollment loss, with or without charter schools. As we’ve outlined throughout this series, Afton identified 8 ways… Continued

Affording Quality Schools – Remedies 5, 6, and 7: Curb Agreements That Inflate Costs As Enrollment Declines

This is the fourth installment of Afton’s five-part blog series, “How Districts Can Afford High Quality Schools, Despite Enrollment Decline,” aimed at recognizing school district financial challenges associated with enrollment decline and offering some actionable recommendations for school districts facing enrollment loss, with or without charter schools. As we outlined earlier in this blog series, Afton identified… Continued